Goa Speaker to pronounce final orders in cases involving 13 BJP MLAs

Panaji, Apr 5 (IANS): Speaker of the Goa legislative assembly Rajesh Patnekar is likely to pronounce two separate orders in the two disqualification petitions filed against 13 BJP legislators on April 29, the petitioners said on Monday.

The Speaker, on Monday, heard separate petitions filed by state Congress president Girish Chodankar and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party MLA Sudin Dhavalikar.

Chodankar's lawyer Abhijit Gosavi said that Patnekar had assured him that the final order would be pronounced on April 29 and during the day's hearing had rejected an application filed by 10 BJP MLAs seeking cross-examination of the petitioner.

Chodankar, however, accused the Speaker of using delaying tactics to prolong the matter and said that Patnekar had invoked contempt of Court by not pronouncing his order on February 26, as per the directions of the apex court.

"Speaker is working on directions from BJP leaders. On February 26 (2021), the Supreme Court passed an order on February 10, that the Speaker had to dispose of the petition by February 26... But the Speaker is conducting hearings piecemeal. He has invoked contempt of Court by not following the Supreme Court's directives," Chodankar said.

Chodankar, as the party's state president, had filed a disqualification petition with the Goa Speaker's office in 2019 and argued the split by the 10 Congress MLAs and their subsequent merger into the BJP was illegal and violative of the provisions of Schedule 10 of the Indian Constitution.

Chodankar has also filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India seeking directions to the Goa Speaker to speed up the process of hearing in the disqualification petition case. The hearing in the apex court is scheduled to be held on Tuesday (April 6).

Speaking to reporters, the other petitioner Sudin Dhavalikar said that he was looking forward to the Speaker's final order related to his disqualification petition against two former MGP MLAs on April 29.

"Let us see what the Speaker does," Dhavalikar said.

BJP MLAs Manohar Ajgaonkar and Deepak Prabhu Pauskar, were elected to the state assembly in 2017 on an MGP ticket, but later split from the regional party and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2019.

Dhavalikar, who continues to be the lone MGP in the state assembly, later filed a disqualification petition against the duo.


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Title: Goa Speaker to pronounce final orders in cases involving 13 BJP MLAs

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